Seeing the ‘Harry Potter train’ at Glenfinnan Viaduct ⋆ By Forever Amber

Saw the ‘Harry Potter train’ on Glenfinnan Bridge

One of the things I really wanted to do during our recent trip to the Highlands was see the ‘Harry Potter train’, as it is affectionately known, as it crosses the famous Glenfinnan Bridge.

The train’s original name was of course the Jacobite steam train, and it ran from Fort William to Mallaig, on the west coast. The most famous part of his journey, however, is taking over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which will be immediately familiar to Harry Potter fans, since it is the Hogwarts Express bridge seen in the films.

The rush only runs from April to October, and our visit was during the final week of the run, so of course I had no doubt something was about to happen that made us miss it altogether: a fear that seemed confirmed when we arrived at Glenfinnan. the visitor center was a bit later than we planned, and in less than ideal weather conditions.

It started raining as soon as we got out of the car, but it was unaffected (Well, okay, maybe a small a little hindered to be honest. I hate rain.), we joined masses of fellow tourists making their way to the bridge, to see the trains.

This is where I got my first unwanted dose of reality. All the photos I’ve seen of the so-called Harry Potter railway on the bridge show it from somewhere above it: an angle now so clear that it’s only possible if we climb one of the hills next to it. bridge.

Since we arrived late there was no time to do that, (And since Max was with us we thought it might not have been the wisest decision) so we rushed across the muddy ground that separated us. from the bridge, choosing a place at random.

This is our view:

Glenfinnan Bridge, ScotlandI’ll be honest, I was disappointed. Admit it, you do too, right? You’re probably wondering why I’m even writing about this, given that I’m obviously too far gone to get a decent view of that stupid train. You’re right: it used to be. (Don’t call that train ‘stupid’, though. I’m warning you…)

However, there didn’t seem to be many options, so we stood and waited… and waited. We waited until we saw people still walking past us to climb the hill nearest the bridge, and that’s when Terry suggested I run ahead and see if I could get there too before the train arrived.

So I ran like Forrest Gump through the rain, and I finally made it to the hill… only to realize that I now don’t know how much time I have until the train will show up. The timings were completely out of my head, and the phone signal wasn’t good enough for me to quickly Google it, so I just stood there for a few minutes, flustered. I was now closer to the bridge itself, and while I knew I would get a better view of the hill, I ALSO knew that, knowing my luck, I would be halfway there when the train arrived, and my view would be obscured by the trees so that I can’t see it at all. And leave it to me to travel hundreds of miles and run through mud just NOT to see my destination coming.

(I know, all this anxiety is because of RAILWAYS, right? Honestly, I don’t even LIKE trains that much under normal circumstances, but I came here to see this particular train, and you better believe I’m going to do it. From a distance. And maybe from behind some trees.)

Rather than risk losing the Jacobites altogether, I decided to stay where I was, and accept that it was as good as I would get that day. I was still standing there a few minutes later, when Terry and Max caught up with me, and, after I explained my predicament, Terry decided to take matters into his own hands, and climb that damn hill.

I still believed there wasn’t enough time to do that, so I stayed with Max, and, again, we waited…and waited…and waited. In other words, we waited at least three times as long as it took us just to climb that scary hill, but I wasn’t really that mad about that, because when the train finally appeared on the bridge Max was so excited he ran up to it waving , and that’s how I got this shot:

The Jacobite Steam Train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Which, to be honest, I actually like better than what Terry got from the hillside:

The Harry Potter Train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Photos aside, seeing the trains go by is a pretty cool experience. People crying and everything. Those people weren’t us, I hasten to add, but I have to admit, I didn’t anticipate Max would be so excited, or would run at him like that, and my eyes probably just small a little wet when I saw it.

However, the best part was yet to come.

I was me, I needed to use the bathroom at this point, so we headed back to the visitor center to use their restroom (Uh, that’s not ‘the best’ by the way. Just to clarify), then headed back to the car we’d be in . However, as we pulled out of the visitor center parking lot, we heard the sound of a steam engine approaching, and looked around to see a cloud of steam that appeared to be floating above the road.

“Is that a train again?” I said surprised. And, of course, there it is:

Jacobite steam train in the Scottish Highlands

As it turned out, the railroad ran right along the road, and as we headed in the same direction as the train, we had to walk alongside it for several miles, where it passed some stunning Highlands scenery on its way to Mallaig. Our view may not include the Glenfinnan Viaduct this time around, but it does include a beautiful selection of lakes and mountains – plus, of course, the train itself – so it ends up being one of my favorite memories from the day we saw the train.

Harry Potter steam train / Jacobite steam train

If you want to see the Jacobite yourself – or even ride one – you’ll find a train schedule here, along with some other information. And just remember: the best views don’t have to be from the top of the hill…*

(* However, most do.)

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